Boise State University honored spring graduates during two commencement ceremonies May 5 in Taco Bell Arena. Together they drew a record 1,966 students.
In total, 2,682 students were eligible to receive 2,935 degrees and certificates. Of those, 647 were eligible for honors: 383 cum laude, 203 magna cum laude, and 61 summa cum laude. Twenty-one doctoral degrees were awarded.
A list of graduates by state and hometown is available here.
Boise State’s spring commencement was the final one under the leadership of President Bob Kustra. Spring numbers are expected to bring the total number of Boise State graduates to around 4,400 for this academic year. The university has graduated a record-setting number of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in each of the past nine years.
“President Kustra has led this university as president through an unprecedented era of growth, development and student-centered accomplishment, and his leadership has brought an increase in the national and international recognition of this very excellent institution,” said Idaho State Board of Education trustee Andrew Scoggin, who delivered remarks on behalf of the board. “Bob Kustra has left an indelible mark on the history of Boise State University.”
Boise State awarded an honorary doctorate to Robert G. Miller, chairman of the board and chief executive officer for Albertsons Companies. Miller has worked in retail since 1961, when he began his career as a bottle sorter at a grocery store. He grew Albertsons LLC from a strong chain of 192 stores across seven states into Albertsons Companies, which operates over 2,300 stores under more than 20 banners in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
“Bob Miller has demonstrated a lifelong dedication to serving customers and providing opportunities for thousands to flourish under his leadership,” Kustra said. “Bob Miller will say he’s just a grocer — what he is is a genius turnaround man.”
Miller offered advice to graduates on how to succeed in their careers.
“I had no idea that applying for a job at a grocery store would change my life, but it did. You work hard, you tell the truth, you believe in others and you have passion for what you do. Find that passion, hang onto it,” Miller said.
Boise State continued its tradition of featuring a student speaker at commencement — finance and accountancy major Clancy Johnston for the morning celebration, and Rhodes Scholar finalist Rachel Elena Gallina in the afternoon.
Johnston grew up in New Plymouth, Idaho, and came to Boise State as an Alumni Legacy Scholar. He gave time to a number of initiatives both on campus and off during his academic career.
“We live in a world that defines us by what we get … once you’ve tasted the joy of giving, purely getting will never satisfy,” he said.
Gallina graduated with honors from Boise State with a bachelor’s in multidisciplinary studies, focused on economics political science, gender studies, and an Arabic studies minor. She has worked as an Albanian refugee interpreter, with the Mary Ellen Ryder Linguistics lab to help launch a communication app designed to help local service providers better engage with Boise’s refugee community. She returned to Kosovo where she was raised to develop an English language curriculum and teach women’s empowerment classes.
“The world needs changing,” she said. “I’d like for each of us to change the world somehow. Be encouraged by what you’ve accomplished … and then tomorrow go out and tackle that thing that scares you the most.”
Boise State’s summer classes begin Monday, May 7. Learn more at extendedstudies.boisestate.edu/summer.